After the Midnight Hour [NOOK Book]

Overview


Cynical homicide detective Jared Stryker didn't believe in fairy tales or ghost stories. That is, until he inherited an old ranch with suspicious neighbors--and a haunting link to his past....

Murdered by her former husband, Rachel Bingham was doomed to walk the house for eternity, but when the sexy, streetwise cop came into her world and awakened the passion within her, she yearned to live again.

Jared had never wanted to be tied down, yet he...

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After the Midnight Hour

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Overview


Cynical homicide detective Jared Stryker didn't believe in fairy tales or ghost stories. That is, until he inherited an old ranch with suspicious neighbors--and a haunting link to his past....

Murdered by her former husband, Rachel Bingham was doomed to walk the house for eternity, but when the sexy, streetwise cop came into her world and awakened the passion within her, she yearned to live again.

Jared had never wanted to be tied down, yet he found himself captivated by the ghostly beauty. But to be together, they had to break the curse that bound her--and escape the danger that stalked him!


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781426871177
  • Publisher: Silhouette
  • Publication date: 7/1/2010
  • Series: Silhouette Intimate Moments Series, #1367
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 1,230,856
  • File size: 542 KB

Read an Excerpt

After The Midnight Hour


By Linda Wisdom

Silhouette

Copyright © 2005 Linda Wisdom
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0373274378

The crippling pain working its way through his body was unrelenting. He couldn't understand how it had happened. For years he'd managed to avoid too much damage to his person. He was no longer ten, and his abusive old man was spending the rest of his miserable life in prison. He was in the habit of stalking danger, not attracting it.

Jared opened his eyes a mere slit and discovered dawn was just breaking.

"Okay, Doc, you can just put me out of my misery now," he groaned.

"There is no way to bring a doctor here to treat your injuries." The matter-of-fact Hispanic voice spoke words that weren't at all soothing to his ears or to his peace of mind. "But I would not worry, senor. You seem to have a hard head that can take much. I think you will be fine."

"Oh hell. I feel like I'm going to die." He immediately passed out again.

Jared had no idea how much time went by between when the voice invaded his nightmare and the moment his eyes opened again.

The room was growing dark -- it looked as if night was just falling. Mindful of the tornado whirling inside his head, he carefully turned his neck to get a better look. A candle flickering nearby allowed him to get a better look at the woman who knelt by his side. His fuzzy brain noted that her delicate features could have graced an old-fashioned cameo.

Now he knew he had to be dead. The woman who'd spoken to him before was older and Hispanic. He wasn't going to complain about this hallucination one bit. She was a soothing sight to his battered self.

The cannons from the 1812 Overture were shooting off inside his skull, his stomach felt as if it wanted to empty its contents, and last but not least, his jaw and chest throbbed with almost unbearable pain. Just another typical night in the life of Jared Stryker.

He peered through the dim light to study his Florence Nightingale. He guessed her to be in her early-to mid-twen-ties, with dark brown hair coiled neatly on top of her head. Her delicate features formed a face so beautiful that just looking at her made him feel better than any amount of aspirin could have accomplished. Even with the muzzy sensation going on inside his head, he couldn't help wondering why she was wearing a heavy cotton dress with one of those bustle things on her lower back. She looked as if she had just come from the local Frontier Days celebration, except the western-style festival wasn't for another two months. But the dress did show off a slender figure and looked as if it was the same deep purple color as her eyes. Delicate lace edging the cuffs and collar was the only hint of femininity to the severe tailoring that clothed the slight form. He also noticed that her big eyes appeared to hold a great deal of sorrow for one so young.

He coughed, then winced as the grinding pain squeezed his ribs and stole his breath away. It took him a few minutes to think coherently again. "What happened...?"

"Some men left you here. I gather you were beaten," she murmured.

"Yeah, nice of them, wasn't it?" he rasped. "Especially since they were the ones who did the beating."

Her expression changed from one of concern to one of alarm. "I know they were rough when they handled you, but I had no idea they were the guilty ones."

"Not something they'd admit to just anyone, I'm sure." He looked up at her because he couldn't imagine looking at anything prettier. "They didn't see you, did they?" He knew if they had she wouldn't be here with him, but he still felt the need to ask.

She shook her head. "They were swift in leaving here."

"Good thing they didn't try anything with you. I would have had to whip their asses if they had." He winced as he tried to shift position. She shook her head and immediately reached down to help him.

A light exotic fragrance teased his nostrils as she drew closer.

"So tell me, beautiful angel, what are you doing here?" he asked.

"Shh." She laid her hand on his brow. "You must stay quiet. You need to rest. Don't worry, you're safe here."

He tried to smile at the idea of this sprite of a woman assuring him he was safe, but he could feel fatigue start to take over. He wanted to tell her that, no offense, but he doubted she could protect a fly. As for the word safe, his vocabulary didn't include it. But he couldn't find fault with her suggestion about the resting part. Not when sleep seemed like an excellent idea. He felt the gentle touch of her hand, cool and soft on his brow. He closed his eyes and succumbed to sleep.

The next time Jared opened his eyes the pinkish-gray light of dawn was shining through the dirty windows, depositing faint bars of light across the dusty floor. Before he tried moving a muscle, he took a mental inventory of his injuries and decided he'd live, after all. He felt a few twinges, but no severe pain that meant something serious was going on. He didn't need to look around to know the room was empty except for him.

Now that he could see the room more clearly, he knew exactly where he was. The khaki-green canvas duffel bag sitting in a corner of the room was the same one he'd left there that fateful afternoon before he'd headed out to The Renegade. The stack of CDs and DVDs lying nearby were also his. For the past week he'd slowly but steadily been moving his few possessions into the aging house he'd inherited from the mother he barely remembered. Curtainless windows that obviously hadn't been washed in years allowed little light into the room -- which was probably a blessing. That way he couldn't fully see the balls of dust covering the floor, but he noticed for the area he'd been lying in had been swept clean.

"Hello?" His voice sounded rusty to his ears. Judging from the pain still crushing his chest, he'd hazard a good guess he had a couple of cracked ribs. He knew as long as he didn't laugh, sneeze, cough or breathe too hard he'd be fine. It wasn't anything he hadn't experienced before.

"You are awake again."

The Hispanic woman approaching him was the exact opposite of the angel of mercy who'd looked after him the previous night. She was dressed in a brown, shapeless, ankle-length dress that looked as if it was made from a rough material. Her waist-length, graying black hair was pulled back in a loose braid. She squatted by his prone body, surveying him with black eyes that he swore saw all the way down to his lack of underwear.

"Who are you?" he asked.

At first, she looked as if she wouldn't answer his question.

"I am Maya," she said, her voice powerful with pride of who she was.

"So, Maya, what are you doing here?"

"You will live," she pronounced, not sounding all that pleased with the idea -- and, he noted, evading his question.

"Sorry I'm going to ruin your day." He glanced past her.

"So where's your friend?"



Continues...

Excerpted from After The Midnight Hour by Linda Wisdom Copyright © 2005 by Linda Wisdom. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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